Maureen Dowd’s article titled “Spellbound by Blondes, Hot and Icy” appearing in December 1st NY-Times jumps from Alfred Hitchcock’s favor of blonde actresses to the dispute of Hillary Clinton’s responsibility for ill-handling of Benghazi attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.
“While Republicans continue their full-cry pursuit of Susan Rice, the actual secretary of state has eluded blame, even though Benghazi is her responsibility. The assault happened on Hillary’s watch, at her consulate, with her ambassador. Given that we figured out a while ago that the Arab Spring could be perilous as well as promising, why hadn’t the State Department developed new norms for security in that part of the world?”
As I didn’t know the word, ‘full-cry,’ I consulted Cambridge, Merriam-Webster, and Oxford online dictionary. None of them registers “full-cry,” but for Cambridge Dictionary carrying “in full cry” as an idiom meaning ‘taking continuously about in a noisy or eager way’.
Google Ngram shows neither “full cry” nor “full-cry,” while showing incidences of “in full cry” since cir 1840. Its usage continues to decline all the way.
Though I surmise “full-cry pursuit” means ferocious and tenacious pursuit from the definition of “in full cry” by Cambridge Dictionary, I wonder if the word “full-cry” is received as a stand-alone adjective as used by Maureen Dowd.
Can “full-cry” be used as an adjective or a noun sui generis? If yes, is it always necessary to combine 'full' and 'cry' with a hyphen?